Antibiotics are a type of medicine that has antibacterial properties. The word antibiotic comes from the Greek words anti, meaning against, and bios meaning life. They are used to cure bacterial infections in humans. Bacteria are tiny organisms that cause illness or infection when they gain access to the human body. Antibiotics are used to help the body fight the illness or infection before it overruns the body.
How Do They Work?
Antibiotics work by either killing the bacteria or stopping them from reproducing. Both enable the body’s natural defense system to clear up the infection by creating the appropriate antibodies. In most cases before a bacteria even has time to multiple and causes symptoms or illness our body’s defense system creates antibodies to fight of the bacteria. An antibiotic that kills the offending bacteria is called a bactericidal. Penicillin is the oldest form of bactericidal and is made from a type of mold. It was first discovered in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. An antibiotic that stops the bacteria from reproducing is called a bacteriostatic.
Due to the fact that antibiotics are designed to kill or damage bacteria they do not work on viral infections. Illnesses such as the common cold and influenza cannot be treated with antibiotics. It is also important that you use antibiotics correctly. If you do not finish a course of antibiotics as you are directed you may cause the bacteria to develop immunity to the antibiotic. This would mean that the antibiotic would become ineffective and not work against the bacteria in the system.